We New Yorkers are surrounded by water, constantly going over, under and around it. But most of us — with the exception of many Staten Island commuters, of course — don’t really spend a lot of time on the water. Taking a boat ride, be it big or small, powered by wind, feet, or diesel fuel is a great way to enjoy the city with kids. Here are some of the coolest ways to go boating in NYC, for all kinds of reasons. Click through to see our seafaring picks!

To Multitask: Take the Ferry to the Beach — or the Fireworks!

Need some sun and sand with your water?  American Princess Cruises also operates the The Rockaway Beach Ferry, so you can get to the beach recently rated the best in NYC, or just show your budding punk rockers where Dee Dee Ramone used to hang out. Seastreak runs a ferry that takes 40 minutes to get to Sandy Hook Beach in New Jersey, and then provides free shuttle service to beaches D, E, North Beach, and even the clothing-optional Gunnison Beach for your mini naturalists.  They also run a ferry with a bus transfer to beaches in Sea Bright, NJ, complete with complimentary beach passes.

If you want a different view of the beach and some boating with a bang, American Princess Cruises and Freedom Cruises can put a sparkle in your children’s eyes with Friday night trips to watch the fireworks over Coney Island, departing from Queens or Brooklyn, respectively.

photo: Dan Deluca via Flickr

Where is your favorite place to explore the seas around the Big Apple?

—Gretchen Kunz